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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Wildlife walks throughout the year
Green Man
Saturday 5th August 2017
Alfriston - Wilmington - Selmeston - Alciston - Bostal Hill - Alfriston
10 miles

Even though we knew it would be a very busy place we headed for Alfriston. It's a superb starting point for a host of hikes in all directions but in August it's also a tourist hot-spot. However, the moment we left the little town and took the SDW toward the Long Man we found that by complete surprise we were almost alone. We doffed our caps to the chalk giant, drank a cuppa down below him and then ambled along the butterfly-strewn footpath to the church at Wilmington. The shade under the 1600 year old Yew was very welcome as were the pies we'd bought at our start point.
Today was mostly a perfect summer's day apart from a band of bad weather that was being held at bay by the Downs. Unfortunately we had to cross it to get from Wilmington to Arlington Reservoir and when we did it hit us with hail, wind, heavy rain, thunder and lightning. On the other side of the tempest the sun came back out and we dried as we walked, emitting a continuous cloud of steam as we went.
A mile south of Arlington Reservoir I saw the merest glimpse of something hurtle into a hedgerow. I suspected a Sparrowhawk was hunting and sure enough a minute later a stunning male was staring at us from a gate post. He shot off and disappeared into a wheat field but by then our attention was taken by a huge bird of prey hovering over a hedgerow about 100 metres away, the sun glinting off of its white wings. Gill called out 'Osprey' as I rushed to pull my bins out of my bag. We'd almost forgotten that they were a target species in this area at this time of year. The autumn migration has begun and these birds will be making their way south back to Africa but stopping at our reservoirs and lakes on the way for a good feed-up and a rest.
The BMW we're now using (the Harley is due for its rebuild very soon) is running perfectly and a very capable bike it is too. Hacking back and forth to Alfriston on such a beautiful day was a real pleasure, without a fantastic hike and an Osprey added!

Four miles away the promontory of Firle Beacon on the Downs, seen from Windover Hill.

We pay our respects.
We manage that without trampling all over his easily eroded slope. 

Put the camera away and put the waterproofs on. Quickly!

The sun's out again!

A remnant of the storm - a rainbow.

Alciston Barn - one of Sussex's wonders.

We got to the top of Bostal Hill in time for sunset and a lovely descent back into Alfriston with the Downs all to ourselves.

Take the time to read the countryside code for yourself and please stick to it at all times.